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  • Writer's pictureDr. Emi Garzitto

CDs and Paradigm Shifts

Back in the technology boom of the 90's, I was an avid reader of the magazine Fast Company. I still have some of the articles, tucked in my research files.  I just can't find them at the moment.

One of the articles talked about the growth curve of industries.  At the time, CD's were still the way we consumed music.  The article was anticipating its decline with the rise of downloadable music and music sharing.  The previous year had shown a spiked increase in CD purchases and rather than herald a comeback, this spike was actually a symptom of its demise.

Industries and products have a life span and the end of the lifespan brings about a spiked increase and then a radical decline.


I think about this for a long time.  I was working on my thesis at the time, reading Kuhn's quintessential book on the arc of paradigm shifts, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I realize that the same process of life and death of a scientific paradigm, is the same for a product, a company and an organization. It is remarkable to me how this principle of self similarity exists within so many platforms.

A star dies, and just before it explodes, it grows larger and hotter.

A family system dies, and just before it explodes, there is often a calm and a peace.

A person will radically hold a belief and it will get stronger and hotter, just before it explodes into empty space and transformation.

I believe the same principles exist in global beliefs and ideologies.  Right now we are seeing a massive influx of fundamentalism.  What I mean by that word, is a black and white, dualistic way of looking at the world.  You are either right or you are wrong. My faith is right and every other faith is wrong.  My kind are good.  Your kind are bad. There is one way to make this work.

I know there are many factors that bring this to play - fear, massive power inequity, fear, an impending change of political power and fear.

But I believe what we are also experiencing is "the spike in CD sales" that will eventually herald the demise of fundamentalism and the rise of a new value.  For me, this is clue number 3,782 signalling a radical change in how we operate as communities, countries and global systems.

That may be too out there for some of you, but any way you slice it, there are all kinds of signals that our world is changing, and the tensions around all of this change are increasing.

What kind of skills do our children need as they evolve in a world undergoing a paradigm shift?

How do we help prepare our children for the realities of increased uncertainty and fear?

The answer is bigger than setting up a survival hut in the woods and learning to live off the land. And it is more than learning to participate in communities and government action in order to support healthy changes and power equity.

For me, it is about supporting communities with lots of practice at resilience, independence, and community building. It is about getting lots of practice at getting comfortable with discomfort, without expecting someone else to fix it for you. And much more...

Twenty years later CD's still exist, but they are a shadow of their former fame and you would be hard pressed to find someone under 21 who owns one.



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